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Teaching An Engineering Class For The First Time

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experiences

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1160.1 - 9.1160.6



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Paper Authors

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Kawintorn Pothanun

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William Peterson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3555

Teaching an Engineering Class for the First Time

Kawintorn Pothanun and William R. Peterson

Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Old Dominion University


There are many graduate students in engineering departments who are assigned to teach a course at the undergraduate level as their first college teaching assignment. Many graduate teaching assistants will have a difficult time in preparing for the course (i.e., deciding what the structure of the course and examinations should be, what grading policy should be used, what presentation tools and techniques should be used, and many other issues). I have found limited publications based on direct experiences in teaching an engineering course for the first time.

This paper describes a first teaching experience from (including the structure of teaching materials, the structure of exams, the benefits of short quizzes, developing a grading policy, and experimenting with presentation tools and techniques) the point of view of a graduate student. This paper describes why teaching a course during their graduate studies is important for graduate students who want to pursuit a career in academia. Recommendations are made for including the teaching of a basic level undergraduate engineering course as a component of preparation for the professorate. The paper concludes with comments from the student’s faculty advisor.


It is not uncommon for graduate students in engineering to be assigned to teach a course at the undergraduate level during their student years. For many this is their first teaching assignment. I was one of these graduate students. I was assigned to teach an engineering economics course at the undergraduate level in the Fall 2003 semester at Old Dominion University (ODU). There were 36 students in my class. All of them had either junior or senior standing in their departments. They were from various departments, i.e., Civil Engineering, Electrical/Computer Engineering, Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science.

New educators, especially graduate students, in the field of engineering are often unfamiliar with the specific engineering body of knowledge in an assigned course, as

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Pothanun, K., & Peterson, W. (2004, June), Teaching An Engineering Class For The First Time Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13319

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